Win, Lose, Draw: The Saga of Solar Net Metering

An almighty battle is raging throughout the solar power industry in the U.S between solar panel developers and the big utility companies who are considering revisions to their net metering policies. 43 states currently offer net metering to their residents which allows owners of renewable energy sources to send electricity they generate using their renewable home systems back to the national grid. Homeowners can exchange the electricity they send for renewable energy credits that will help to offset the cost of powering their home in the dark winter months. The scheme has been a resounding success with the number of customers taking advantage of the service rising to 300,000 from almost zero just 10 years ago. However, the utility companies claim that the incentives that solar panel owners receive are being paid for by other power customers and are hoping to revise the scheme to cope with the increase in demand.

What Does this Mean For Solar Panel Owners?

A heated meeting between government representatives and energy industry leaders in Arizona resulted in a fixed charge of $0.70/kW being applied to all power generated by solar panel owners that is sent to the grid. The decision was welcomed by energy company APS who claim that the extra fee is necessary to pay for maintaining and running the national grid and that solar owners have so far been able to avoid this charge even though they are utilizing the service. APS originally proposed a fixed charge of $7.00k/W, but this was met with outrage from solar panel developers and owners alike.

Will I Be Affected?

So far the charge has only been applied to homeowners in the state of Arizona, but other states are expected to announce their own charges in the near future. The current rate of $0.70/kW is considered by many to be just a proxy number and could potentially rise over the next few years.

Does This Mean Solar Panels Are No Longer Worth The Cost?

Despite the added charge, solar panels are still an economical method of generating electricity for the home and will still offer substantial savings on current energy bills. To find out exactly how much you could potentially save, book a consultation with a qualified Delaware solar installer who can advise you on whether or not solar panels are a viable option for your home. Solar panel owners still qualify for government incentives such as a 30% federal tax credit and enjoy the added benefit of lowering their carbon footprint by powering their home with clean, renewable energy.

Net metering is a fantastic way to encourage homeowners to install renewable energy systems in their homes, and people should not be put off by the extra fee. Solar developers have accused the big utility companies of attempting to squash any emerging competitors in the energy market, and say that they are merely attempting to cash in on what is proving to be a lucrative investment. Despite the controversy, solar energy will continue to expand across the United States as the price of panels fall and the cost of gas and electricity climbs, and this is a welcome trend for both homeowners and the environment.

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